Hoodwinked for fishing rights

It is not known how much money has been defrauded from veterans by a group that has been holding meetings countrywide, under the guise of signing them up for fishing quotas.

12 July 2018 | Local News

Namibia's liberation struggle veterans have been warned against a group that is hosting meetings across the country, and illegally registering veterans for fishing quotas.

Deputy veterans affairs minister Hilma Nicanor yesterday condemned the activities of the group that calls itself Repatriation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR) and said the ministry will not tolerate it.

According to her, the RRR group has recently called meetings with veterans in places such as Windhoek, Rundu, Ongwediva, Outapi and others.

At these meetings veterans are said to have been requested to provide copies of their identity documents and make payments, purportedly for the purpose of registering them as beneficiaries of fishing rights. It is not known how much money has been defrauded from veterans by the group. According to Nicanor the ministry is aware of the public invitation by the fisheries ministry calling for the application of fishing rights by Namibians and said that veterans are equally eligible.

“So veterans are expected to apply in their own individual capacities or in the manner that is tandem with the provision of the Marine Resources Act (Act no7 of 2000). Those who think they can abuse the system should be put to shame.”

She stressed that all programmes and activities related to the welfare of veterans is and remains the responsibility of the ministry, adding that they will not tolerate any person or group interfering with the responsibilities entrusted to them.

“The Veterans Affairs Department would like to urge all veterans to refrain from the activities of the RRR group as their agenda is unknown to us.”

Nicanor said the department vehemently condemns the activities of the RRR group that is going around the country on the pretext of serving the interests of Namibia's veterans.

She said the interests of the veterans are to be taken up through the recognised channels as per the Veterans Act, which provides for the establishment of the Veterans Association.

The only recognised body that should serve as a mouthpiece on the issues affecting the welfare of veterans is the Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA), said Nicanor.

“This is the only organisation through which veterans can discuss issues pertaining to veterans.”

The department also called on the RRR group to stop engaging veterans with immediate effect.

Nicanor further urged veterans to remain vigilant and refrain from accepting unwarranted invitations from persons not mandated to deal with their issues.

She said veterans should instead approach the nearest veterans' affairs offices or leaders of the NNLVA for assistance, if they need it.

According to her the veterans' ministry has implemented several socio-economic programmes that have seen many registered and approved veterans benefiting from.

She said this assistance is being given for the welfare of the veteran and their families and the good intentions of government are now being destroyed by the activities of the RRR.

“I would not say veterans are not happy with government's efforts so far. They appreciate what government has done,” Nicanor said when asked why veterans would be interested in what RRR is offering.

“What government is giving is not payment, but a mere token of appreciation and they are happy and aware of the programmes that are offered.”

Nicanor said although engagements have taken place with the RRR even up to the vice-presidential level last year, they have not stopped with their activities. “We know the person behind it and we want to engage one-on-one with this person.”



ELLANIE SMIT

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